Jump directly to the Content

Change Diplomacy

Steps to take—before you take a major step.
Change Diplomacy

A friend told me recently about a new church his denomination tried to start a couple of years ago. Located in a small midwestern town, the church got off to a great start. Then one Sunday, early in the second year, people arrived to find their old, hand-me-down pews replaced by padded stacking chairs, a surprise gift from an anonymous donor. As everyone filed into the building, the pastor stood by the door beaming. He knew they would be thrilled with the change, and he wanted to catch their expressions as they came in.

Unfortunately, they weren't thrilled. They were surprised, startled, and upset. Within a few weeks, half the congregation left to form another church-one where they could worship God as he commanded, in pews rather than chairs.

That story reminded me of the advice of an old farmer. "Churches are a lot like horses," he said. "They don't like to be startled or surprised. It causes deviant behavior."

Like most pastors, I learned early in my ministry ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

July/August
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Preaching to Ordinary People
Preaching to Ordinary People
From the Magazine
They Fled Ukraine, and Ukraine Followed
They Fled Ukraine, and Ukraine Followed
Escaping Russian missiles, some exiled believers found a new sense of purpose helping refugees.
Editor's Pick
When Churches Put Love at the Center
When Churches Put Love at the Center
How "beloved community" helps us envision tangible ways to embody kingdom values.
close